The Champions League is an extremely exciting soccer competition between some of the top clubs in Europe. The past two weeks viewers had the pleasure of watching some top competitors battle it out in the first games of the round of 16 knockout stages. The round of 16 format features an aggregate score of two matches, one game at each respective team’s home stadium. Here’s a recap of the first week of matches and what the next tie holds for these soccer clubs.
2/18 – Atletico Madrid 1 Liverpool 0
Perhaps one of the most surprising results of the first round of the champions league knockout stages happened in the first match of the round of 16. The defending Champions League winners traveled to the Wanda Metropolitano in Madrid, Spain. The only goal of the game came from a set piece in the 4th minute via a header from Spanish midfielder Saúl Ñíguez. This stood to be the only goal of the game and Atletico did a superb job of defending that goal throughout the rest of the game. Liverpool missed a series of chances to make the game level and was on the attack for most of the game after the goal in the first five minutes. The story of this game was the excellent discipline Atletico had defending one of the scariest attacking clubs in Europe. Looking forward to the next match, Liverpool will have to fight back from a one goal deficit to advance to the next round of the competition.
Prediction for the next fixture: Liverpool 2 Atletico Madrid 0 (Liverpool Advances)
2/18 – Borussia Dortmund 2 Paris Saint-Germain 1
The majority of excitement in this game came in the second half, specifically spanning between the 68th and 75th minute, which saw three total goals being scored in that seven minute time period. Dortmund was fortunate to score two goals in that period and capture the win in the comfort of their home stadium. Erling Haaland, the 19-year-old rising star, scored both of the goals with one of them being a rocket from the Norwegian’s left foot from outside of the box. For PSG, Neymar scored the only goal after returning to the starting lineup for the first time since the beginning of February. The key takeaway was the heroics that Haaland displayed in front of his home fans, he is currently on fire in the Champions League, as he is in a two-way tie for the top scorer in the competition. PSG will look to edge out Dortmund with home-field advantage in Paris next week. This will be an especially important game for PSG since they have been eliminated at this stage of the competition in the previous three seasons.
Prediction for the next fixture: PSG 3 Borussia Dortmund 2 (Borussia Dortmund Advances)
2/19 – Atalanta 4 Valencia 1
The most lopsided fixture of the first week of matches featured the Italian club, Atalanta, who is competing in the competition for the first time in their club’s history. Atalanta started off quickly by taking a two-goal advantage in the first half. They took this momentum into the second half and held a four-goal lead 65 minutes into the game. Valencia was fortunate enough to register a goal in the latter end of the match to give them a glimmer of hope in the second leg of the fixture. The man of the match was the Dutchman Hans Hateboer, who scored two goals and did a fantastic job of creating chances throughout the game. Both sides had a lot of chances in this match and this result of this tie will lead to a very fast paced game in Valencia. Atalanta will look to hold onto their lead and secure a spot in the next round of the competition.
Prediction for the next fixture: Valencia 2 Atalanta 2 (Atalanta Advances)
2/19 – RB Leipzig 1 Tottenham Hotspur 0
Red Bull Leipzig held on to a one-goal advantage to secure a victory away from home against Tottenham. The German team, Leipzig, scored in the second half with a successfully converted penalty by their star striker Timo Werner. Tottenham were without their two main forwards, Harry Kane and Son Heung Min, who were both sidelined with injuries. This proved to be a sufficient problem as they failed to be threatening in the final third of the pitch. Although Werner’s goal happened to be the only goal of the match, Leipzig dominated the chances with 16 shots and five shots on target. The German squad will look forward to defending their lead in front of their home fans, where they have been the most dangerous in this competition.
Prediction for the next fixture: Tottenham 1 RB Leipzig 1 (RB Leipzig Advances)